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A comfortable room, good food, and a helpful hotel staff can make being away from home an enjoyable experience for both vacationing families and business travelers. Hotel managers and assistant managers strive to ensure their guests will have a pleasant stay.
Hotel managers are responsible for the efficient and profitable operation of their establishments. In a small hotel, motel, or inn with a limited staff, a single manager may direct all aspects of operations. However, large hotels may employ hundreds of workers, and the general manager may be aided by a number of assistant managers assigned to the various departments of the operation. Assistant managers must ensure that the day-to-day operations of their departments meet the standards set by the general manager.
The general manager has overall responsibility for the operation of the hotel. Within guidelines established by the owners of the hotel or executives of the hotel chain, the general manager sets room rates, allocates funds to departments, approves expenditures, and establishes standards for service to guests, decor, housekeeping, food quality, and banquet operations. Managers who work for chains also may be assigned to organize and staff a newly built hotel, refurbish an older hotel, or reorganize a hotel or motel that is not operating successfully. (For more information, see the statement on general managers and top executives elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Resident managers live in hotels and are on call 24 hours a day to resolve problems or emergencies. However, they typically work an 8-hour day, while overseeing the day-to-day operations of the hotel. In many hotels, the general manager also serves as the resident manager.
Executive housekeepers are responsible for ensuring guest rooms, meeting and banquet rooms, and public areas are clean, orderly, and well maintained. They train, schedule, and supervise the work of housekeepers, inspect rooms, and order cleaning supplies.
Front office managers coordinate reservations and room assignments as well as train and direct the hotel's front desk staff. They ensure guests are treated courteously, complaints and problems that may arise are resolved, and requests for special services are carried out.
Food and beverage managers direct the food service operations of hotels. They oversee the hotels' restaurants, cocktail lounges, and banquet facilities. They supervise and schedule food and beverage preparation and service workers, plan menus, estimate costs, and deal with food suppliers. (For more information, see the statement on restaurant and food service managers elsewhere in theHandbook.)
Convention services managers coordinate the activities of large hotels' various departments for meetings, conventions, and special events. They meet with representatives of groups or organizations to plan the number of rooms to reserve, the desired configuration of hotel meeting space, and any banquet services needed. During the meeting or event, they resolve unexpected problems and monitor activities to check that hotel operations conform to the expectations of the group.
Other assistant managers are responsible for personnel, accounting and office administration, marketing and sales, purchasing, security, maintenance, and recreational facilities. (For more information, see the related statements on personnel, training, and labor relations specialists and managers; financial managers; and marketing, advertising, and public relations managers elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Because hotels are open around the clock, night and weekend work is common. Many hotel managers work considerably more than 40 hours per week. Managers who live in the hotel usually have regular work schedules, but they may be called to work at any time. Some employees of resort hotels are managers during the busy season and have other duties during the rest of the year.
Hotel managers sometimes experience the pressures of coordinating a wide range of functions. Conventions and large groups of tourists may present unusual problems. Dealing with irate patrons can be stressful. The job can be particularly hectic for front office managers around check-in and check-out time.
Hotel managers and assistant managers held about 105,000 wage and salary jobs in 1994. An additional number-primarily owners of small hotels and motels-were self-employed. Some were employed by companies that manage hotels and motels under contract.
Postsecondary training in hotel or restaurant management is preferred for most hotel management positions, although a college liberal arts degree may be sufficient when coupled with related hotel experience. In the past, most managers were promoted from the ranks of front desk clerks, housekeepers, waiters and chefs, and hotel sales workers. Although some employees still advance to hotel management positions without the benefit of education or training beyond high school, postsecondary education is preferred. Nevertheless, experience working in a hotel-even part time while in school-is an asset to anyone seeking a career in hotel management. Restaurant management training or experience is also a good background for entering hotel management because the success of a hotel's food service and beverage operations is often of great importance to the profitability of the entire establishment.
A bachelor's degree in hotel and restaurant administration provides particularly strong preparation for a career in hotel management. In 1994, over 160 colleges and universities offered bachelor's and graduate programs in this field. Over 800 community and junior colleges, technical institutes, vocational and trade schools, and other academic institutions also have programs leading to an associate degree or other formal recognition in hotel or restaurant management. Graduates of hotel or restaurant management programs usually start as trainee assistant managers, or at least advance to such positions more quickly.
Hotel management programs include instruction in hotel administration, accounting, economics, marketing, housekeeping, food service management and catering, and hotel maintenance engineering. The widespread use of computers in hotel operations such as reservations, accounting, and housekeeping management is making some familiarity with computers essential. Programs encourage part-time or summer work in hotels and restaurants because the experience gained and the contacts made with employers may benefit students when they seek full-time employment after graduation.
Hotel managers must be able to get along with all kinds of people, even in stressful situations. They need initiative, self-discipline, and the ability to organize and direct the work of others. They must be able to solve problems and concentrate on details.
Sometimes large hotels sponsor specialized on-the-job management training programs which allow trainees to rotate among various departments and gain a thorough knowledge of the hotel's operation. Other hotels may help finance the necessary training in hotel management for outstanding employees.
Most hotels promote employees who have proven their ability. Newly built hotels, particularly those without well-established on-the-job training programs, often prefer experienced personnel for managerial positions. Large hotel and motel chains may offer better opportunities for advancement than small, independently owned establishments, but relocation every several years often is necessary for advancement. The large chains have more extensive career ladder programs and offer managers the opportunity to transfer to another hotel or motel in the chain or to the central office if an opening occurs. Career advancement can be accelerated by completion of certification programs offered by the associations listed below. These programs generally require a combination of course work, examinations, and experience.
Opportunities to enter hotel management are expected to be good for persons who have college degrees in hotel or restaurant management.
Employment of salaried hotel managers is expected to faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Business travel will continue to grow, and increased domestic and foreign tourism will also create demand for additional hotels and motels. However, manager jobs are not expected to grow as rapidly as in the past because an increasing share of the hotel industry will be comprised of economy properties, which generally have fewer managers than full-service hotels. In the face of financial constraints, guests are becoming more bargain-conscious, and hotel chains are increasing the number of rooms in economy class hotels. Economy hotels offer clean, comfortable rooms and front desk services without costly extras like restaurants and room service. Because there are not as many departments in each hotel, fewer managers are needed on the hotel premises. Economy hotels have a general manager, and regional offices of the hotel management company employ department managers, such as executive housekeepers, to oversee several hotels.
Although new employment growth is expected to be concentrated in economy hotels, large full-service hotels will continue to offer many trainee and managerial opportunities. Most openings are expected to occur as experienced managers transfer to other occupations, retire, or stop working for other reasons.
Salaries of hotel managers vary greatly according to their responsibilities and the segment of the hotel industry in which they are employed. In early 1995, annual salaries of assistant hotel managers averaged nearly $40,000, based on a hospitality industry survey conducted by Roth Young. Salaries of assistant managers also varied because of differences in duties and responsibilities. For example, food and beverage directors averaged $44,000, according to the same survey, whereas front office managers averaged $30,000. The manager's level of experience is also an important factor.
In 1995, salaries of general managers averaged nearly $57,000, according to the Roth Young survey. Their salaries ranged from $40,000 to $81,000 depending on the size and type of establishment. Managers may earn bonuses up to 25 percent of their basic salary in some hotels. In addition, they and their families may be furnished with lodging, meals, parking, laundry, and other services.
Most managers and assistants receive 3 to 11 paid holidays a year, paid vacation, sick leave, life insurance, medical benefits, and pension plans. Some hotels offer profit-sharing plans, educational assistance, and other benefits to their employees.
Hotel managers and assistants are not the only workers concerned with organizing and directing a business where customer service is the cornerstone of their success. Other occupations sharing similar responsibilities include restaurant managers, apartment building managers, retail store managers, and office managers.
For information on careers and scholarships in hotel management, contact:
The American Hotel and Motel Association (AH&MA), Information Center, 1201 New York Ave. NW., Washington, DC 20005-3931.
For information on educational programs, including correspondence courses, in hotel and restaurant management, write to:
The Educational Institute of AH&MA, P.O. Box 1240, East Lansing, MI 48826.
Information on careers in housekeeping management may be obtained from:
National Executive Housekeepers Association, Inc., 1001 Eastwind Dr., Suite 301, Westerville, OH 43081, or 1-800-200-6342.
For information on hospitality careers, as well as how to purchase a directory of colleges and other schools offering programs and courses in hotel and restaurant administration, write to:
Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education, 1200 17th St. NW., Washington, DC 20036-3097.
General career information and a directory of accredited private trade and technical schools offering programs in hotel-motel management may be obtained from:
Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, 2101 Wilson Blvd., Suite 302, Arlington, VA 22201.
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